Burford – Kalangala, Uganda Link (1994 – 2015)
The link between Burford School and Bishop Dunstan Secondary School, on the Ssese Islands of Lake Victoria has existed since 1994 and is the longest running school link in Oxfordshire and Uganda.
Founded by a former Geography teacher, the first group of students visited Uganda in July 1995. Since then an annual exchange has taken place with students from Burford visiting partner students in Uganda and then hosting them the following year in Burford. Since its formation, the school link has thrived and the benefits to both communities have been enormous.
Miss S McRae firstname.lastname@example.org , the member of staff in charge of the Link, has been visiting Uganda with the students every other year since 1997. She has been accompanied by a number of other school staff over the years. Her report on the most recent trip in August 2014 can be downloaded below.
“Tuyugire wamu” “Learning Together”
The Uganda link motto is “Learning Together” and offers a unique opportunity for young people (between 16 and 18) to become friends and to learn about each other’s culture at first hand. Students can take part in the exchange from the end of Year 11 and have to commit to it as a two year experience. During one summer they visit Uganda and the following summer the Ugandan partners visit Burford. Money for the Ugandans’ trip is raised entirely by events organised by the UK students and parents within the Uganda Link group, however, the Ugandans contribute to the funds with various performances in the UK, particularly the Final Concert.
Features of the exchanges have included learning together in the secondary schools, teaching lessons in primary schools, going away together on a residential trip and working towards a performance in a final concert for the community. In addition, there are homestays where partners learn first-hand about each other’s way of life
- The Uganda Link has been an annual exchange for the last 21 years.
- The reciprocal programme has been awarded:
- 18 consecutive Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council Grants.
- The International School Award.
- It provides a lifelong and life-changing inspiration to those students who take part.
- The Uganda partners’ visit to the UK is funded entirely by the fundraising efforts of the UK participants.
- Local schools – Secondary, Primary and Nursery Schools – together with Churches in both countries are involved.
- A special link was established between Brize Norton Primary and the main feeder school in Uganda.
- The project has extended beyond Kalangala to include other students in Northern Uganda on three occasions.
- Though primarily educational, the project has also provided funds for:
- a girls’ dormitory
- a library
- a fully equipped computer room
- a high quality photocopier
- two cows
- other smaller items including mosquito nets, generator fuel, text books
The Uganda Link offers a unique experience for students, opening their eyes to the richness within different cultures, similarities across national boundaries and alternative ways of living and thriving within the world. The visit to Uganda teaches them self-reliance and independence and the fundraising and hosting of their returning visitors develop in them the qualities of responsibility and commitment. Burford School is extremely proud to be able to offer this experience both to students within the school and also to those within Bishop Dunstan Secondary School.